Eric Tessmer plays sold-out show at The Press
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Eric Tessmer and his band have played in Steamboat Springs several times throughout the years, and they’re always itching to come back for another visit.
“Colorado is a great place for being inspired,” Austin, Texas-based Tessmer said. “Being in the mountains seems to help my writing. In the past three or four years, I’ve been more putting myself in different environments and letting the environment shape the music.”
On Thursday, Tessmer returns to Steamboat to play his blues-rock “soul-chedelic” at The Press — the first-ever paid show at the venue, which sold out by the start of the week.
“(Ever since Eric played at The Press after one of the free concerts last year,) people loved him and kept asking when we were going to get him back,” said The Press general manager/owner Ed Andreoni. “The response to the show was unbelievable. It’s Austin-based blues — something that doesn’t come around here very often.”
Tessmer grew up in Wisconsin, where he was musically limited to what was immediately around him: his father’s and grandmother’s record collection, his father’s guitar playing, whatever was on the radio.
At age 19, Tessmer moved to Austin to pursue a career in guitar. Too young to get into bars and clubs, he spent time playing with gospel choirs.
“In Austin, having live music around me all the time was extremely inspiring,” Tessmer said. “It changes the way you do business.”
He formed the Eric Tessmer Band, which played its first show in 2003 and won several local residencies, including a Monday night gig that continued for more than 13 years. His current team includes Jason Rathman on bass and Marc Redix on drums.
Known as being one of the hardest-working musicians around, Tessmer would play four-hour sets and tour for months at a time, passionate about being a musician but often using alcohol to help manage the exhausting lifestyle, a struggle reflected in Tessmer’s single “Good So Bad.” The song, which is also the most listened to of all of Tessmer’s songs on Spotify, symbolizes the era of Tessmer focusing more on songwriting and voice, in addition to his famous fretwork.
In September 2015, Tessmer quit drinking, and three and a half years later, themes within Tessmer’s songwriting have centered on sobriety.
“It’s like I’m doing everything for the first time again,” Tessmer said. “I’m feeling what it feels like — actually feeling the feelings instead of numbing them.”
Tessmer won “Best Musician: Guitar” in Austin’s 2017-18 Music Awards — no small feat in the Live Music Capital of the World.
“I’m a big fan of metaphors in songs,” Tessmer said. “They let you say something you want to say but without being so specific that no one else can relate to it.
“Once you write a song and put it out into the world, it’s no longer yours,” he said. “Whoever listens to it, now it’s theirs, and they attach their own meaning to it.”
Another influence on his songwriting was Tessmer’s marriage in 2018.
“I actually have legitimate love songs now,” Tessmer chuckled.
His second EP is set for release in June, and he’s also planning to work on an album with friend Nancy Wilson of Heart.
Tickets to Tessmer’s show at The Press are sold out, but Tessmer’s social media offers several chances to win a ticket giveaway. Winners will be chosen Wednesday.
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